The young ones are as good as the young once
By Al S. Mendoza
I am glad, was overwhelmed really, over the response of our kabaleyans/kaluyagans to the first Pangasinan Literary Awards.
Even Malu Elduayan, the energetic Pangasinan Tourism boss, was both ecstatic and euphoric about it that she couldn’t wait to stage the second edition of the contest.
“Despite the short notice, our writers still produced their masterpieces and beat the deadline for submission,” Malu said.
Contests were held in poetry, short story and essay in two divisions: adult and youth.
You know what?
I had expected the youth division to produce inferior entries.
But no, the young ones were almost as good as the young once.
I consider that manna from heaven.
Since when did our teenagers become almost co-equals of their elders?
But that was almost the naked truth, as what my fellow judges and I had discovered.
Which could only mean one thing: In the written word, in literature, age is really a non-factor.
One can be young but the depth of creativity can be that of one seasoned in life’s ways with the world.
The 12 winners in the four categories richly deserve our applause if only because they showed imagination and a keen sense of creativity.
What was more striking and compelling is the fact that they produced literature in the Pangasinan language.
“We should really be proud of our language,” said Serge Bumadilla, my fellow judge. “It is not only unique, it is also rich in history.”
Sonny Villafania, author of the highly-acclaimed book of poems “Pinabli,” said our Pangasinan language can stand head-and-shoulders with any language in the world.
“As early as the 16th century, the Pangasinan language has already its own dictionary,” Sonny said.
Sonny, Atty. Ferdi Quintos and I had an animated conversation at the Capitol Resort Hotel in Lingayen about the Pangasinan language.
I had initially presented issues on why the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF), now being chaired by my good friend Joelad Santos, had authority over the destiny of the Pangasinan language.
The next morning, during the awarding ceremonies for our literary winners presided over by Guv Spines, the matter had been cleared up.
“It’s in the law,” said Manong Ferdi. “We can’t do anything about it at the moment.”
I can only agree.
It is mandated in the Constitution that “the Filipino language and other languages (to include Pangasinan and Cebuano, among others)” are under the care of the KWF.
I rest my case.
Anyway, the Pangasinan Literary Awards project, which was immediately adopted when I broached up the idea to my dear kaaron Raffy Baraan, did not end with the recent Agew na Pangasinan festivities.
Already, Malu Elduayan is busy again charting the rudiments of the first Pangasinan Literary Workshop, set next May.
“Yes,” I told Malu via a text message. “Count me in.”